Friday, March 25, 2011

Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake

What's not to love about a title like that? (*smile*) Let's begin with the summary of this new Barbour release:

Roll into Hope Falls, Colorado, where three women are seeking mates to help them establish a sawmill. Evelyn Thompson never dreamed their husbands-for-hire ad would bring so many bachelors to their tiny town. How will she ever figure out which feller to choose? Jacob Granger, a logger-turned-bounty hunter, is hot on the trail of his brother’s killer. When a clue leads him to Hope Falls, he has no choice but to pretend to court Miss Thompson while waiting for the killer to show his hand. Will Jacob’s unexpected adoration of this sweet cook prompt him to speak vows before getting vengeance?

And now, my review:

Kelly uses clever chapter beginnings which echo chapter endings. She employs unusual vocabulary words. I was glad to be reading on my Kindle where I could look things up. (*grin*) The romantic elements were strong (when the story focused on them) as was her plot. This author’s sense of humor came through with some laugh-out-loud moments, helping make this an enjoyable read.

However, the ensemble cast was overwhelming. I felt like I’d missed book one (this is book one) with all the characters she introduced, many with their own POVs. The middle of the story almost lost me. There was a noticeable lack of relational elements. There was a lack of romantic development throughout. And one serious disappointment—there was a lot of build up to a certain romantic element and then it was mentioned in hindsight.

Overall, I felt there could have been more romance in the story, either between the injured, bedridden man and his fiancée, or the hero and heroine. Perhaps now that the author has introduced her ensemble cast and set the stage, the following books in this series can get to the business of relationships sooner and delve more deeply. Since this is a romance, I'd like to see more focus on romance.

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